Meet Steph Pierre, a native speaker French QTS associate primary language teacher working with the Year 5 class at St Benedict's Catholic Primary School, who are in their second year of learning French! Today they were building sentences with opinions and nouns in the plural.
Incidental target language is used throughout Steph's interactions with the children and as the class teacher pointed out "They all really love French and it doesn't frighten them!" The pronunciation is excellent and right at the start of the lesson the children were revisiting their opinion phrases both with a written starter refresher, a matching activity looking and talking through the same phrases with a partner.(It also gave Steph time to set up as she had just left her previous class and walked in to this classroom and the Year Five 60 minute lesson).
This was swiftly followed by target language practise to "develop accurate pronunciation and intonation so that others understand when they are reading aloud or using familiar phrases"
Steph has been working as an Associate Primary Languages teacher with the Primary Languages Network for 2 years.Steph was a Head of Department in a secomdary school and still works with GCSE and A'Level and also adults at the Alliance Francaise.What I have seen over the last two years is how much she loves teaching in the four primary schools we have allocated her and applies her native speaker skills and apporaches to her Spanish teaching in one of our schools too!
I like to find out what the class teacher thinks,when I visit the schools.At St Benedict's ,the class teachers are in class and are learning alongside the children.Phrases such as "Never puts children under presssure but still challenges them" , " They are all always so keen to join in",It is very inclusive and all the children are learning" "Great that I can join in and feel more confident in how to speak the language properly" are comments from the teacher today that reassure me that the programme is working well in the school.Steph works alongside Lucy the coordinator and using the Subject Coordinator Planning Tools on the network VLE together they have set up a reallly effective learning programme for the children and are this year tackling assessment together too.
AfL ran throughout the lesson .Steph asked questions such as "Which is the strongest j'aime or j'adore? " .She gave them visual clues: "Watch my actions,look at my face" and ask them to listen to the emphasis in her voice as clues. She linked language back to prior learning.
Tocreate the opinion sentences and therefore "Speak in sentences ,using familiar vocabulary,phrases and basic language structures" Steph had to practise and revisit nouns for fruits and vegetables (learnt last half term for the first time). What was also interesting here ,was how Steph and the children had had to investigate types of fruits and vegetables that the children weren't hundred percent certain about as actual foods. (Les courgettes and les haricots verts are matter of fact itens for Steph but necessarily for the children she was teaching).
Using target language she rvisted with the children "les trois groupes differentes de mots- le ,la ,les" and let the children take the lead in understanding what she was looking for (definite articles) and the difference between le,la and les.Here are some of the comments from the children as they worked out what they were sorting with Steph: " Are you putting them in three groups?".... "One is feminine" ..... "Oh banane is femine then because it is la!"..... "Does it begin with an "m?"....... "She means masculine!"....... "I think some of them are more than one" " ......"It's like the plural".........."It is the plural!"
The children,Steph and the class teacher practised the three different groups of words by using hand signals to indicate to which group the fruit or vegetable noun belonged : le (hand pats head),la (finger on nose) and les (arm up in the air).
Steph's focus in this lesson was upon the use of plurals to express an opinion about an item.The discussion was led by French examples e.g "J'aime les haricots verts" and "je n'aime pas les chou fleurs".Links between languages were made by the children as they compared what happens in English too.Silent letters and adding an "s" just like in English on the nouns but not hearing them in French was another point raised and discussed.
I found the listening game the class played at this point interesting, startng with simple splat of named fruits and vegetables , moving to fruits and vegetables and colours e.g un fruit jaune and then extending to full sentence requests with more compex language ."Je voudrais un legume vert,long et pluriel!" or "Je voudrais in fruit noir,vert,rouge ...".It was great to see the children helping each other and exploring how they can now "listen attentively and understand mre complex phrases and sentences" (KS2 Framework Oracy)
The big team challenge - boys aganst girls works every time! And today the challenge allowed children to win points for their teams if they could select a picture on the screen, give a complete opinion correctly and use the plural version of the noun. The chldren could double their points by adding a conjunction just like they had been practising and using in Autumn term and linking two s[poken sentences together about two fruits. Conjunctions....? The class teacher made one of those great literacy links moments between one language and another - "Think orange!" .Think orange? Why? Well in the school from Year 3 onwards the children build up a sequence of orange words around the classroom which are link phrases,links words and conjunctions.I took a photo of some of Year 5's orange words.
Now the children were thinking about their orange link words in French- "et .mais ,car .....!
Remember this is a 60 minute lesson and fpr the last 15 minutes Steph introduced a cultural aspect.Listening to authentic text with a purpose! Everyone (including me ) found the clip she showed fascinating.It was about "le makeover de la Tour Eiffel" .She set the secne by explaining to the childfren they were going to listen to the French news and that she had no doubt they would understand what it was about and waht was happening and that there were lots of words they would recognise.A short challenging clip from the annual " salon de agriculture "that fired the children's imaginations about building la tour eiffel from fruit and vegetables!
And the task Steph left the children with ,was to think creatively and to design their own French language piece of Art .It had to be a monument or a character but it had to be exclusively made of fruit and vegetables!